Haryana CM presents Rs 1.89 lakh crore budget; announces interest waiver on crop loans amid farmer protests

CM Khattar said such loans should have been taken by farmers registered on MFMB portal and thereafter, the farmers will be eligible for crop loans from PACS during Kharif season.
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar (Photo | PTI)

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday presented the budget for financial year 2024-25 with an allocation of Rs 1.89 lakh crore, more than 11 per cent from the previous fiscal.

CM Khattar also announced waiver of interest and penalty on certain crop loans and did not hike taxes as he presented a Rs 1.89 lakh crore budget for 2024-25 financial year.

While announcing the budget proposals at a time when farmers have intensified their protests at Punjab-Haryana borders, Khattar asserted that his government has taken many steps for the welfare of the farmers and that Minimum Support Price (MSP) is being given for 14 crops.

"For 2024-25, I propose a budget of Rs 1,89,876. 61 crore which is 11.37 per cent more than Rs 1,70,490.84 crore (revised estimates) of 2023-24," Khattar said while presenting the budget in the Haryana Assembly.

In a major announcement, Khattar, who also holds the finance portfolio, said that interest and penalty will be waived on crop loans taken by farmers form Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS).

"I announce to waive interest and penalty on the crop loan in case crop loan was availed till September 30, 2023 and the principal amount is paid by May 31, 2024, provided the farmer is registered with MFMB (Meri Fasal Mera Byora)," he said.

He said that such loans should have been taken by farmers registered on MFMB portal and thereafter, the farmers will be eligible for crop loan from PACS during Kharif season.

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As the chief minister made the announcement, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda asked him, "you talk of farmers, then why you slap NSA (National Security Act) on farmers. Farmers are protesting on Haryana's borders".

In response, Khattar said that "as much farmers are dear to you, they are to us also".

"I am the son of a farmer, I know the pain of farmers. When I have announced a scheme in favour of farmers, either you are not able to digest it or not liking it," he said.

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While presenting the budget in the state assembly, Khattar also announced an increase in the financial compensation from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore for families of soldiers who die in line of duty.

He also announced that his government would provide 1,000 km of free travel in Haryana Roadways to nearly 22.89 lakh families having an annual income of Rs 1 lakh, benefitting 84 lakh people. It will incure an estimated expenditure of Rs 600 crore, he said.

A Rs 10 crore startup fund will be set for encouraging drone manufacturing in Haryana, said Khattar.

The government will also train women to operate drones for agricultural purposes and these women will be called 'drone didis', he said.

"The state will also make provisions to provide drones, which may be given on rent for agricultural purposes. For details, a notification will be issued later," the chief minister said.

He also announced that freedom fighters' monthly allowance will be raised from Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000.

Khattar also proposed setting up of 400 new sports nurseries in the state. Besides, two high performance centres for boxing and wrestling will come up in Panipat, Sonepat in 2024-25, he added.

A sum of Rs 578 cr for the sports sector has been proposed in 2024-25 as against Rs 432 crore in 2023-24, said the CM.

Khattar said 21 vegetables and fruit crops have been included in the "Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana to reduce farmers' risk.

In the last two years, stubble-burning incidents dropped by 67 per cent in Haryana, he added.

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